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584. Ridgeline Trail (09/29/07)

Hikers (18): Arlene, David, Diane, Gavin, Harvey, Hima, Janice, Jeff, Jinglan, Nick S, Oliver, Paul, Ross, Russ, Sarah, Stacy, Steve, Walter
Distance: 15 miles
Rating: 2 difficulty, 8 beauty
Park info: Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park west of Pleasanton

Write-up by Steve

The hike was full of decade milestones. You might even think it were a record, but not so. Russ doubled the membership in the 400 Club, and Gavin barely got his 10th leaf before running off to attend his 10th birthday party, thus becoming the youngest tree-holder.

1, 2, 3 INCH!

To facilitate milestone party action, I made maps with three slightly different routes, with the goal of having everyone end up at the far end of the park (Turtle Pond) at around the same time. There was a 14 mile green route, a 16 mile orange route, and a 16.7 mile pink route. This worked out, with Ross and I getting there (via the pink route) less than five minutes before Russ, Hima, and Stacy strolled in on the green route. A lot more people took the pink route than intended because they were following the other two people who had that map (Harvey and Sarah), but pretty much everyone got there during a twenty minute block.

I brought a bottle of tequila for Janice's "100th" tradition, just in case she didn't bring hers, for it was Russ's 400th hike. Ross and I honored Russ in absentia, and later several more people from the first half of arrivals honored Russ's 4th forest. Janice, via the orange route, came a little later with more tequila, and the second wave of people got to celebrate (not to mention a few from the first group going for a second round).

As luck would have it, no one knew it was also my 151th (three times over) hike, so Russ didn't bring the 151. Tequila goes down much smoother, and probably doesn't need to be mixed with high-proof rum.

Oh, and there was a hike, too! Despite being a ridge hike, it is still possible to make it about ~90% a loop, which is the second-best feature of this oblong park (the best feature, of course, is the olive grove). And things might get a lot better in the future, as a few people mentioned during the hike, since the EBRPD recently negotiated a deal to acquire the adjacent Sunol Ridge. If the EBRPD is anything like the MROSD. . .well, we're SOL until our 1000th hike. Let's hope for a faster turn-around time.

At the end of the hike, we saw that late-coming Jinglan had apparently shown up, as the maps we left were gone. She later wrote to confirm that she finished the hike, including taking a picture of the signpost at Turtle Pond--that's the kind of accountability that INCH likes! A few people complained about a 15 miles hike being only a level 2. There is logic there--it was long--but it was just so nice outside and mostly flat on the ridge. We'll call it a 2.49, and it would be a solid three in the summer.

Milestones:
Arlene's 1st leaf
Diane's 30th leaf
Gavin's 10th leaf
Hima's 110th leaf
Janice's 160th leaf
Paul's 110th leaf
Russ's 4th forest
Steve's 151st leaf (and shot) × 3



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